Every person should be able to enjoy human rights and be free from fear, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. However, in many places these human rights are not recognized, and expression of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity can be isolating, embarrassing, and even dangerous.

So what do all of these categories mean?

Sexual orientation refers to a person’s sexual feelings, desires, practices, romantic feelings and identification, including homosexual and lesbian (same-sex orientation), heterosexual (opposite-sex orientation) and bisexual (both same-sex and opposite-sex orientation).

Gender identity refers to how a person’s biological sex (male and female) relates to their feelings and expression of the social categories of gender (if you feel and act like a woman, a man, or feel that neither category represents you). Transgender refers to people who don’t feel that their biological sex matches their gender (they may have been born female but feel they are like a man, or born male and feel like a woman, or born either and feel their gender is more fluid).

Safety and Rights in the Netherlands

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender are commonly used terms in the Netherlands (and thus on this site). In the past few decades, LGBTI rights in the Netherlands have been some of the most progressive in the world, and in 2001, the Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Equal Rights Act of 1983 bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in housing, accommodation and employment. Moreover, LGBTI individuals cannot legally be prosecuted or discriminated against by the government of the Netherlands because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It is the responsibility of the Dutch government to protect residents of the Netherlands from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.